Wednesday, July 08, 2009

SAVVY UPDATE, 07.08.09
Let's get back to using this as my Log Book, shall we? That was my original intention for this blog. Whenever you see "Savvy Update, 00.00.00", it's savvy session notes.

This is actually for yesterday. I went out in the evening after watching the Michael Jackson Memorial on TV (not a huge fan, but, I just had to, ya know? Like with Princess Di or President Reagan. It's a requirement.)

My goal was to continue working on straightening out Cheerios' feet after reading up in my Jaime Jackson book.

I collected him from the pasture and we set to it. Hmm. My energy level wasn't as high as it was Saturday. I managed to balance his left front a bit more than it had been, but then I was sweating and feeling it from leaning over. It's HARD WORK rasping and trimming. Please—appreciate your farrier. They make it look easy.

His front feet looked more normal and he was no longer turning his left foot outward, so I figured I'd done the trick. I saddled him up. Yup. Before playing. He was calm and relaxed. I figured, saddle then play then ride. He just "felt" OK to do that, so I did.

We went out to the arena and ran through the games a bit on the 12' then the 22'. He was listening well, responding to very little. Good. Played a bit with Touch It (nose) with the big orange cone. He likes to stand on everything and touch with feet rather than his nose. Had a tender moment where he just stood there with his nose on my midsection, blowing on me while I petted him. I felt really connected to him for the first time in ages.

He was pretty much in tune, so I lead him to the fence to practice mounting from there. Didn't need much practice—I clambored on up, and he moved into position like he's been doing it for years.


Now, WHY didn't he do that when we were taping?

(Because we were TAPING, right? LOL!)

I mounted, checked the brakes, and off we went. Carrot stick riding. Went really well. Dropped the reins, trotted and cantered a little without "holding on". Took my feet out of the stirrups and just sat there reveling in the moment for a bit. It was a gorgeous day. I had no real plan, just get out there and ride for a change. So we did. I left my feet out of the stirrups and did a bit more trotting and cantering that way—close to being bareback, nothing to brace against—but then my little fear rose up so I had to stop. (It was just a small bit of fear.)

Did some Figure 8s around the cones—first at a walk, so I could rehearse the focus and position, then at the trot, loose rein. Went pretty well.

Sideways was brilliant.

We bopped around the arena a bit more, cantered beautifully to the gate, and he sidled up to it for me to open it on a thought. Opened, rode through, shut it. Dismount, untack. Pet him a lot in the barn. Then... I played with his mouth, and he licked me, so I tried for the tongue.

He let me hold his tongue.

I figured out that if I feed a little grain from my hand after he lets me hold it, he's more inclined to dangle his tongue out the side of his mouth.

Return to pasture.

I've noticed that when I am relaxed, and even if I have goals, I remain relaxed and just do stuff in a slow but relaxed manner, it goes better. It's when I get tense and feel "on a schedule" that stuff goes badly. I don't hurry up and saddle, I just do it with intent but with relaxation. Not hesitantly, not hurried. When my entire attitude is neither hesitant nor hurried, just "so", we have a great time. Especially when I pause and take time to appreciate just being with him in between.

I guess that is the definition of "take the time it takes, so it takes less time".

Monday, July 06, 2009

In the interest of saving moolah, I'm performing my own hoof maintenance for now. You may recall back in '06 I was on the path to becoming an AANHCP trimmer but got derailed because of the parental illnesses. I'd already invested in the equipment and two clinics plus reading material. I know enough, and I had a bit of hands-on practice with a bit of professional guidance before being turned loose to do maintenance on my own beasts.

But I'm nowhere near an expert. However, this weekend...

I took a stab at it. I've been a naughty horse owner because I lost track of time and didn't have the trimmer out recently. When I went out Saturday, I discovered that while Shaveya's hooves are longer than they should be, they look all right; but Cheerios' looked bad. I mean BAD. Bigtime flare on the fronts, and the persistent quarter crack he's always had on his right front was worse. (It looks like he blew an abcess on the right hind about two months ago, too.)

I'd brought my trimming tools on instinct. Good thing. I collected him and for my own sake, put him in cross-ties. He was a good boy. I managed to get the flare knocked off and trimmed him down a little. I still have a ways to go to get him to the right length, but it's a MAJOR improvement. He was eternally patient with me. I went slow to avoid cutting anything I shouldn't, so it took longer. Just the fronts, though. I couldn't do the rear hooves after all the bending and squatting. But the rear hooves look OK (albeit too long).

Since I'm recuperating from my end of putting up nearly 300 bales of hay yesterday (helping the barn manager, working off board), I'm holding off on further trimming until tomorrow at the earliest. Gotta read my Jaime Jackson and Pete Ramey books a bit first, and remind myself how this is done.

Maybe I will do this after all. Maybe I should start out with the hoof trimming, make money while I study into L3, THEN apply to the Parelli Pro Program.

You know what? For all the pain I'm in today after the intense labor (I'm out of shape, am I?), I must say I really love farm work. I love doing it. It's good honest work and the rewards are solid. The pace of the farm works for me, too. You do it when it's time to do it, and that's that. I love seeing the horses' expressions as they watch us loading hay.

Speaking of, it's time for dinner.